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Michael Shannon as a Romantic Lead? Damn Right It’s Our Pick of the Week

By  · Published on February 7th, 2017

This Week in Home Video

Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots Find Romance and Mistrust in ‘Frank & Lola’

Plus 24 more new releases to watch at home this week on Blu-ray/DVD.

Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support FSR in the process!

Pick of the Week

Frank & Lola

What is it? A man and a woman meet, fall in love, and crumble beneatht he weight of their past.

Why see it? This was one of my favorites out of Sundance last year, but it seemed to quietly fade away leaving me alone in my praise. That’s fine, it happens. But honestly, the film already has a leg up on most others with its casting of Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots in the leads ‐ both are great, but while she’s no stranger to romance films Shannon is mesmerizing in a rare romantic lead. We follow his journey of affection, confusion, and loss as he tries to salvage a disaster he didn’t see coming, and the result is an engaging drama peppered with moments of comedy, suspense, and romance. If you like Shannon you should see this one sooner rather than later.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Frank & Lola (Blu-ray + Digital HD)

The Best

Cameraperson [Criterion]

What is it? A documentary cinematographer presents snippets and scraps from her twenty five year career filming other people’s stories in order to tell her own.

Why see it? Kirsten Johnson’s feature is both unassuming and mesmerizing at the same time. We watch short scenes come and go featuring people and places from all around the globe, and while there’s not overt through-line between them a story still comes to light. Johnson’s experiences reveal a world that has much to offer the eyes, ears, and hearts of viewers, and while some of it comes naturally other truths seem made to order. It’s a fascinating yet relaxing glimpse into a world we hardly know despite it being our own.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, Q&As, short film]

Cameraperson (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Come What May

What is it? Citizens of a small French village hit the road to escape the German onslaught, and their journey brings hope and heartbreak in equal measure.

Why see it? I don’t recall hearing much about Christian Carion’s film over the past couple of years, but now that it’s on Blu-ray I highly recommend it to fans of great films in general and World War II-set films in particular. Action, suspense, and strong character work create a two-tiered journey that holds our attention through moments of horror and compassion, and The Americans’ Matthew Rhys adds to the quality as a Scottish soldier itching to continue his fight against evil.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes, commentary]

Come What May [Blu-ray]

Dirty Dancing ‐ 30th Anniversary Edition

What is it? Someone tries to put a baby in the corner, and a resort lounge performer is having none of it.

Why see it? Look, you’ve already seen this movie. It’s a modern classic for some folks, lots of folks, and if you count yourself among them but don’t yet own a copy of the movie then this is the edition for you. Most of the extras have been present on earlier releases, but this edition offers a couple featurettes ‐ including a Swayze interview ‐ that haven’t been seen before. The movie is still a fun watch building to a still rousing dance conclusion

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, featurettes, outtakes, commentaries, music videos]

Dirty Dancing (artisan) [Blu-ray]

The Eagle Huntress

What is it? A young girl hopes to buck tradition and become the first female to master hunting with eagles in Mongolia.

Why see it? This is an endlessly beautiful and inspiring documentary that speaks to the equality of the sexes both in general and very specifically in the remote regions of Mongolia. It offers a fascinating glimpse into these peoples’ lives and culture too in regard to their daily lives as well as the art of hunting with eagles. One curious question that comes out of it, one not addressed in the film but that I wondered about afterward, is would viewers feel the same if the eagle was replaced by a rifle?

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette]

The Eagle Huntress [Blu-ray]

The General & Three Ages [Kino Lorber]

What is it? A man crosses enemy lines to rescue both his lady and his train in The General, and man’s search for love comes to life across the ages in Three Ages.

Why see it? Don’t judge me, but I just watched Buster Keaton’s The General for the very first time this week (via this fantastic new Blu-ray), and it left me feeling let down by every other train-set action film since. What an absolute marvel this is of action choreography, comedy, and heart. The stunts are jaw-dropping one minute and cheer-worthy the next, and Keaton manages to top it all by ending the film on a truly heartfelt note. The bonus film, Keaton’s first feature, isn’t as smooth of an experience, but the stunt work is equally impressive and nutty. This is a must-own disc for movie fans.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 2k restorations, alternate scores, commentary, introductions, short film, commercial, Candid Camera segment]

The General/The Three Ages [Blu-ray]

Justice League Dark

What is it? Evil magic leaks into the world leading to murder and mayhem, and Batman is forced to call on equally magical heroes to help fight it.

Why see it? This new animated film features more gritty, uncomfortable darkness in its first five minutes than the entirety of Zack Snyder’s DC output ‐ it helps that it’s rated R ‐ and while it calms down some as the story progresses it remains a thrilling adventure into the more dangerous side of the DC universe. The action is exciting, the dialogue is engaging and frequently funny, and it leaves viewers excited for more stories with this crew. And for someone who only knows Swamp Thing from the Wes Craven film this also served as an eye-opener in regard to his abilities. The limited gift set edition includes a character figurine too.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, bonus cartoons]

Justice League: Dark (BD/DVD/UV) [Blu-ray]

Little Sister

What is it? A nun-to-be returns home to reconnect with her old life before committing to the new.

Why see it? Addison Timlin has always been fun to watch throughout her career, but this is the first time she’s gotten such a richly fascinating character to play, and the result is a revelation. She’s stunning as a young woman whose new life for god seems at first at odds with a past as a goth girl into music, drinking, and hanging with friends. This is her journey, but the film also introduces her brother, a recently disfigured war vet, and the two renew a sibling bond filled with real sweetness, acceptance, and love. As emotionally affecting as Zach Clark’s film can be there’s still room for laughs, fun supporting characters, and the always wonderful Barbara Crampton as deceptively understanding Mother Superior. Seek this film out. It’d be a sin to let it pass you by.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Little Sister [Blu-ray]


What is it? The true story of a white man and black woman’s relationship and marriage test the acceptable boundaries of late ’50s Virginia.

Why see it? Jeff Nichols’ latest is a beautiful love story set against a turbulent reality, and it’s anchored with two strong turns by Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton. Negga in particular does tremendous work as half of a couple whose love led to legal change across the country. The film’s strength, beyond Negga, is in allowing them to be a normal, loving couple. They’re neither martyrs nor saints, they’re just two people who wanted to be free to love each other. I’m not all that convinced of the film’s re-watchability factor, but that doesn’t diminish its value.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentary]

Loving (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)

The Take

What is it? A rogue CIA agent teams up with a bombing suspect to stop a terrorist threat against Paris.

Why see it? The most high profile and successful action films are typically ones that either feature plenty of big, CG-filled mayhem or that include great martial arts sequences, but sometimes smaller, less assuming films deliver the goods too. Idris Elba is terrific here as the British CIA agent (don’t ask) and delivers an imposing and highly capable presence through fights, chases, and general badassery. It’s small potatoes compared to a Bourne film, but it’s never dull and I’d happily accept a sequel with more Elba action.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

The Take (2016) (Blu-ray + Digtial HD)

Vice Principles ‐ The Complete First Season

What is it? Two vice principals compete for the top spot when their boss retires unexpectedly, but when a woman is given the job instead the two men team up to take her down.

Why see it? I wasn’t the biggest fan of Eastbound & Down ‐ it was funny, but the heart was just never convincing ‐ but this reunion between Jody Hill and Danny McBride hits all the extremes to deliver big laughs, surprises, and moments of genuine sweetness. There are beats here that hurt to watch, sometimes from laughing but more often from cringe-worthy scenes of sadness and cruelty. But also very funny… don’t forget it’s funny too.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, bloopers, commentaries]

Vice Principals: The Complete First Season Blu-ray + Digital HD

Wild Beasts [Severin]

What is it? PCP leaks into a town’s water supply and turns the animals into murderous thugs.

Why see it? This is just a nutty, gory delight, and I can’t believe it took me this long to see it. I’ve long been a fan of animal attack movies despite a concern that, especially in the older ones from other countries, the animals might not have been treated all that well. This Italian gem definitely crossed some lines ‐ the director claims otherwise in an included interview, but that guy’s full of it ‐ but most of the animal action seems safe for everyone but the human participants. It’s a bloody film as people are mauled, clawed, and nibbled to death, and it’s filled with surprises as new and varied animals enter the fray.

[Blu-ray extras: Interviews]

Wild Beasts [Blu-ray]

The Rest

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

What is it? An accident prone boy falls into a coma and narrates his past and present towards a revelation about his life.

Why see it? Liz Jensen’s novel has been on my “to-read” list since its publication thanks to an intriguing premise, but Alexandre Aja’s adaptation has just saved me the time investment. As interesting as the setup is what follows is anything but. The child, Louis, is utterly obnoxious and unlikable from beginning to end, the story grows increasingly inane, and the big reveal obvious from early on. Worse, even if it was a surprise it’s unavoidably underwhelming.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]

Almost Christmas

What is it? The patriarch of a large family asks them all to come together and get along for the holiday.

Why see it? Family comedies set around the holidays are a dime a dozen, and this one doesn’t really do anything to set it apart. That said, what it does it does well enough to warrant a watch. The cast ‐ Danny Glover, JB Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Mo’nique, Omar Epps, and others ‐ does good work collectively balancing the laughs and the heart.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Gag reel, featurettes, commentary]

Antibirth [Scream Factory]

What is it? A young woman wakes from a night ‐ and life ‐ of hard-partying to discover something growing inside of her.

Why see it? Natasha Lyonne plays the hard-living lady, and along with Chloe Sevigny as her best friend the two deliver some crass laughs. Things get crass and gross pretty quick, but while the developing body horror sequences delight those of us who love to squirm the script feels a bit messy for all the wrong reasons. We jump around through time and editing choices, and it’s a struggle to care. The third act steps up thankfully to take things out with style, and between it and Meg Tilly the film remains worth a watch.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Short films]

Beyond Redemption

What is it? A cop with martial arts skills goes undercover into the Triad risking both his principles and life in the process.

Why see it? Stuntman Brian Ho plays a lead role here, and while his acting won’t blow you away his fighting and acrobatic skills are impressive enough to keep watching. That sentiment pretty much sums up the entirety of the film too ‐ the story and script do little for you, but when it shifts to action it’s clear there’s real talent on display here.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Bleak Street

What is it? Two older prostitutes, two mini-luchadores, and the bleak reality that only half of them will survive the week.

Why see it? A true crime from Mexico’s recent past sits at the heart of this black and white feature, but the core of the tale is in the lives leading up to the murders. The film moves between moments of familial love, brief bursts of violence, and the stark reality that sometimes survival overpowers compassion. There’s an engaging and unsettling air to the film as it presents its reality with a starkness that’s both beautiful and ugly.

[DVD extras: None]

Cross Wars

What is it? A modern-day hero fights evil on the streets of Los Angeles with the help of a powerful amulet, his friends, and a team of lady ass-kickers.

Why see it? Brian Austin Green headlines this goofy little movie that aims for a comic book feel by way of cheap CG and sketchy mythologies. Vinnie Jones and Danny Trejo as the bad guys lets you know about where it stands budget-wise, but it’s also pretty clear in the action sequences and production design. There’s clearly some heart behind it all, but you’d be hard-pressed to say there’s enough to make a watch worthwhile. It feels every bit like a Syfy production ‐ all it’s missing is a sharknado.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary]

Dead West

What is it? A serial killer roams the country looking for love and finding only murder at his own hands.

Why see it? There’s a traditional narrative here as the brother of a past victim chases the killer across the countryside in search of revenge, but the film is clearly uninterested in it. Instead writer/director Jeff Ferrell seems more focused on his killer to the point of mistakenly thinking he’s something of an anti-hero with a chance of being seen as likable by viewers. He isn’t. The entirety is underwritten as a result ‐ the “hero” falls short, the killer is shown in a better light ‐ and it makes for a dull thriller.

[DVD extras: Commentary, featurette]


What is it? A group of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border into the United States are targeted by an angry man with a rifle and a dog.

Why see it? Jonas Cuaron (son of Alfonso) directs and co-writes this suspenseful survival thriller that pits a wily Gael Garcia Bernal against a cruel and increasingly furious Jeffrey Dean Morgan. There are some strong set-pieces here as the killer picks off those he sees as invaders, and the landscape sets a terrifically challenging terrain for their battle. It’s ultimately a simple and straightforward affair, but Cuaron milks it for all the suspense he can. (Also, fair warning to viewers who hate seeing/hearing dog violence.)

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary]

From Dusk til Dawn ‐ Season Three

What is it? The Gecko brothers continue their adventures across Mexico and the American southwest fighting the law and the supernatural along the way.

Why see it? Season three of this unlikely EL Rey Network series, based on the Robert Rodriguez / Quentin Tarantino feature, opens the world up a bit while delivering more of the same thrills along the border. Vampires and other supernatural beasts continue to be a threat, but as the brothers learn and prove there’s no animal as deadly or dangerous as man. It’s a fun show filled with its share of blood and violence, but it has yet to approach the wacky charisma of True Blood’s earlier seasons. It’s difficult to connect with these characters beyond their genre beats, but at least those genre beats are entertaining.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scene, commentaries]

Life on the Line

What is it? Linemen race to fix electrical cables before a massive storm strikes the area.

Why see it? This film’s heart is in the right place with its appreciation of the dangerous job linemen do every day across the country, but sweet jesus is it terrible. The writing is laughably bad and melodramatic to the point that serious beats are left feeling silly at best. John Travolta headlines, but his earnestness feels almost as false as his facial/head hair. The supporting cast fare a bit better, but the dialogue isn’t doing anyone any favors.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Music video, interviews]


What is it? Two loser friends in Los Angeles struggle to find a way to become rich and famous.

Why see it? Sausage Party stole last year’s R-rated animated film thunder, but this lower budgeted production is every bit as funny. Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt voice the two slackers whose efforts to succeed just dig them further into failure and chaos, and they’re joined by the likes of Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Paul Scheer, Mike Judge, and Hannibal Buress. Nudity, violence, and foul language fill the screen, but the laughs come with a sharp commentary on our media-obsessed culture. It’s a fun watch.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Prince of Foxes [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? European kingdoms clash as the infamous Borgias send a spy into neighboring territory with unexpected results.

Why see it? Beautiful locales and a talented cast come together in this late ’40s period drama with Orson Welles taking on the role of the heavy. Tyrone Powers steps into the shoes of the hero who discovers his enemies are far more likable than his boss. There are some big beats here, but most of the film is character work and dialogue exchanges.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, featurette]


What is it? Trolls just want to have fun.

Why see it? Dreamworks’ animated features have quickly taken a backseat beahind both Pixar and Disney, and at this point they’re barely hanging on to a tie with Universal. Their latest feels far too forced and insincere in its story about friendship and teamwork, and that goes double for the songs that are meant to be catchy but manage only to bore and annoy. It’s possible kids may enjoy it, but with so many better options it would be pretty damn cruel of you to pick this for their TV time instead.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Sing-along, interactive games, featurettes, deleted scenes]

Also Out This Week:

Baby Baby Baby, Graves ‐ Season One, Killing Reagan, Spin Out

Related Topics:

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.